Covid-19 Live Updates: Trump Is Hospitalized as More Aides Test Positive

Photo of author

By admin

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump was hospitalized on Friday evening less than 24 hours after learning that he had the coronavirus. Aides said Mr. Trump was experiencing coughing, congestion and fever, symptoms that worsened through the day.

Mr. Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after being given an experimental antibody treatment as the White House rushed to cope with a commander in chief infected by a virus that has killed more than 208,000 people in the United States. Officials said he would remain in the hospital for several days and canceled his upcoming campaign events.

The White House shrouded Mr. Trump’s condition in secrecy, saying little more than that he had “mild symptoms,” and officials characterized the hospital stay as a precautionary measure. But the normally voluble president remained almost entirely out of public view, skipped a telephone call with governors at the last minute and uncharacteristically stayed off Twitter nearly all day while people close to the situation said his fever and other symptoms worsened as the hours wore on.

“I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support,” Mr. Trump, wearing a suit and tie but appearing unusually pale and lethargic, said in an 18-second video that was recorded just before he boarded the Marine One helicopter and then posted on Twitter in his first public comment of the day. “I’m going to Walter Reed hospital. I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out.”

Mr. Trump returned to Twitter late Friday night, writing in a short post: “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”

Dr. Sean P. Conley, the White House physician, said in a statement that Mr. Trump had received a single eight-gram dose of polyclonal antibody cocktail while also taking zinc, vitamin D, melatonin, aspirin and famotidine, a heartburn medicine. Dr. Conley did not explain why Mr. Trump was taken to the hospital. In a statement released beforehand, he said that “the president remains fatigued but in good spirits,” and noted that he had also started taking remdesivir, an experimental drug that has received emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration to treat hospitalized Covid-19 patients.

He had a more positive assessment of the first lady, Melania Trump, who also tested positive, saying that she “remains well with only a mild cough and headache.”

The president donned a black face mask and emerged from the White House shortly after 6 p.m., giving a perfunctory thumbs up to reporters without stopping to speak as he walked unassisted to the helicopter. He was accompanied by Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, who was also wearing a mask.

The hospital trip was an abrupt change in plans after Vice President Mike Pence told governors earlier in the day that the president would remain at the White House.

White House officials said Mr. Trump was well enough to work. If the illness were to become worse, the president could temporarily transfer his powers to Mr. Pence under the 25th Amendment with the transmission of letters to the speaker of the House and president pro tempore of the Senate and then reclaim them once he recovers.

There was rising frustration on the part of some White House aides late in the day that so little information was being released about the president’s health, in part because they worried that it would stoke fears beyond the known facts. Some staff members described a rush for tests for themselves, with some told they could not get them.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the president’s Democratic challenger, who was on a debate stage with Mr. Trump on Tuesday, tested negative on Friday.

It can take several days after exposure for the virus to reach levels that are detectable by a test. People show symptoms on average around five days after exposure, but as late as 14 days.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Bill Stepien, President Trump’s campaign manager, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, a person briefed on the matter said, making him the latest senior aide to the president to receive such a diagnosis in the past few days.

Mr. Stepien is experiencing mild symptoms and is in quarantine, the person said. His diagnosis was first reported by Politico, and confirmed to The Times.

Mr. Stepien was with Mr. Trump at the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday, but it was unclear when he was last with the president. However, he was in closed-door preparation sessions with Mr. Trump and a half-dozen other aides and advisers on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Mr. Trump and the first lady were confirmed by White House officials on Friday morning to have the virus.

Another aide who was in those preparation sessions, Hope Hicks, tested positive on Thursday. And Kellyanne Conway, the former senior White House aide who was also part of those sessions, said she had tested positive on Friday.

“Tonight I tested positive for COVID-19,” Ms. Conway said in a Twitter post. “My symptoms are mild (light cough) and I’m feeling fine. I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians. As always, my heart is with everyone affected by this global pandemic.”

Ms. Conway is one of several people to have said they had tested positive for the coronavirus after attending White House events last Saturday announcing Mr. Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Others include Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah; Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina; and the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

After months of wishing that the coronavirus would “disappear, like a miracle” and insisting that the United States was “rounding the corner” in its fight against the pandemic, President Trump announced on Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for the virus.

Now, the White House itself is a hot spot of sorts, the center of a contact tracing effort that extends to the upper reaches of American politics and government. It is not clear exactly when Mr. Trump was infected or by whom, but there is little doubt that the virus was circulating around him for the past week:

Last Friday, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, mingled with Mr. Trump at a glitzy fund-raiser at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. The president seemed to be in good cheer and good health.

The next afternoon, he gathered Republican lawmakers and members of conservative interest groups in the White House Rose Garden to announce Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee.

Ms. McDaniel was not present, having traveled to her home in Michigan. It would be a few days before she began to feel ill and then tested positive for the virus. But the newly renovated Rose Garden was packed with supporters of Mr. Trump, including at least eight Republican senators, few of them wearing masks. Judge Barrett, who is said to have already had the coronavirus and has since recovered, met earlier with the president in the Oval Office without wearing a mask.

Later Saturday evening, Mr. Trump flew to Middletown, Pa., for a campaign rally. A White House reporter on the flight would later test positive for the virus.

Back at the White House on Sunday, Mr. Trump and Hope Hicks, one of his closest advisers, huddled with a handful of other aides, none of whom wore masks, for debate preparation in the Map Room. The group included Stephen Miller, the president’s speechwriter and top domestic policy adviser; Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and the former mayor of New York.

On Monday, the group moved their session into the Oval Office. Ms. Hicks sat on the couch. And on Tuesday, they gathered again for a few hours in the Map Room, prepping the president for the debate that evening.

Before the debate, White House officials who had been in close contact with Mr. Trump and Ms. Hicks headed to Capitol Hill to introduce Judge Barrett to senators. Vice President Mike Pence; Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, posed for photographs in the Mansfield Room with Judge Barrett and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

The lawmakers and White House officials posed without masks.

Mr. Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, left for the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday afternoon. Ms. Hicks traveled with the president, as did Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio.

On Wednesday, as Ms. McDaniel received her positive test results, Mr. Trump met in the Oval Office with Mr. Meadows, his chief of staff, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, to discuss the stalled negotiations with Democrats on a compromise stimulus bill.

On Wednesday evening, the entire Republican congressional delegation from Minnesota — Representatives Pete Stauber, Jim Hagedorn and Tom Emmer, the chairman of House Republicans’ campaign arm — flew with Mr. Trump to another campaign rally. In a photo they later posted on Twitter, none were wearing masks on the plane.

On Thursday morning, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who had attended the Rose Garden event, began to feel ill, with symptoms consistent with longtime allergies, according to his office. Around the same time, Ms. Hicks was tested.

The White House did not announce that Ms. Hicks had tested positive before the news leaked out on Thursday evening. Hours later, Mr. Trump turned to Twitter to announce: “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump, like many men in their 70s, has mild heart disease. He takes a statin drug to treat high cholesterol and aspirin to prevent heart attacks. And at 244 pounds in a health summary released in June, he has crossed the line into obesity.

All of that, experts say, puts him at greater risk for a serious bout of Covid-19. So far, White House officials say Mr. Trump’s symptoms are mild — a low-grade fever, fatigue, nasal congestion and a cough — but it is far too soon to tell how the disease will progress.

“He is 74, he’s hefty and he’s male, and those three things together put him in a higher-risk group for a severe infection,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, adding: “Although he is being watched meticulously and may well do fine for a few days, he is not out of the woods, because people can crash after that period of time. This is a very sneaky virus.”

Already, his doctors have taken extraordinary steps. On Friday they gave him a single infusion of an experimental antibody cocktail that is showing promising results in early clinical trials. He is also taking vitamin D, zinc, melatonin, famotidine (an antacid better known as Pepcid) and daily aspirin, according to a memo from Dr. Sean P. Conley, the president’s physician.

As is the case with all Covid-19 patients, Mr. Trump’s overall health will make a difference in how he fares. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that about 64.7 percent of Covid-19 patients with underlying health conditions in his age group have required hospitalization, and 31.7 percent have died.

Mr. Trump’s true condition, though, may remain a mystery. The president has never been forthcoming about his health — apart from boasting that he is in excellent physical condition — and has never released complete medical records as presidents before him did. In recent years, he has faced increasing questions on the subject.

Credit…Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

President Trump has received a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail being developed by the drug maker Regeneron, in addition to several other drugs, including zinc, vitamin D and the generic version of the heartburn treatment Pepcid, according to a letter from his doctor that was released by the White House on Friday afternoon.

In the letter, Mr. Trump’s doctor, Dr. Sean P. Conley, said the president had “completed the infusion without incident” and that he “remains fatigued but in good spirits.”

There are no approved treatments for Covid-19, but the Regeneron treatment is one of the most promising candidates. Initial results have suggested that it can reduce the level of the virus in the body and possibly shorten hospital stays — when it is given early in the course of infection.

In an interview Friday afternoon, Regeneron’s chief executive, Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, said Mr. Trump’s medical staff had reached out to the company for permission to use the drug, and that it was cleared with the Food and Drug Administration.

“All we can say is that they asked to be able to use it, and we were happy to oblige,” he said. He said that so-called compassionate use cases — when patients are granted access to an experimental treatment outside of a clinical trial — are decided on a case-by-case basis and that Mr. Trump is not the first patient to be granted permission to use the treatment this way. “When it’s the president of the United States, of course, that gets — obviously — gets our attention.”

Dr. Schleifer has known Mr. Trump casually for years, having been a member of his golf club in Westchester County.

Source link

Leave a Comment